Tuesday, October 13, 2015

4 plays that killed the Eagles

Here are four plays that killed the Eagles in their 37-19 loss to the Titans. Plus a look at which penalties were most costly.

4 plays that killed the Eagles

Kenny Britt caught 7 balls for 225 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles. ( Clem Murray / Staff Photographer )
Kenny Britt caught 7 balls for 225 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles. ( Clem Murray / Staff Photographer )

Here are four plays that killed the Eagles during their 37-19 loss to the Titans:

The third-quarter fumble: The Eagles were up 16-7 and driving in the third quarter. They started at the Titans' 41 yard line after an Asante Samuel interception. Kevin Kolb had just connected with Riley Cooper for a 9-yard completion and a first down, giving the offense the ball at the Titans' 3 yard line.

They set up in the I-Formation on first down with Owen Schmitt at fullback ahead of LeSean McCoy. Titans defensive tackle Jason Jones lined up between right guard Max Jean-Gilles and center Mike McGlynn. When the ball was snapped, he shot right in between them and knocked the ball loose as Kolb was making the exchange. McGlynn told the guys over at Birds' Eye View that he was supposed to pick up Jones. And watching the replay, he's telling the truth. Jean-Gilles was lined up with William Hayes one-on-one. If he would have slid over to block Jones, Hayes would have shot through untouched. McGlynn, meanwhile, double-teamed Sen'Derrick Marks with Nick Cole. Actually, if you re-watch it, Cole actually bumps into McGlynn. The importance of the fumble can't be overstated. The Eagles would have had a chance to go up, 23-7. Instead, the Titans picked up a field goal and went on to outscore the Birds, 30-3, to end the game.

Hobbs pass interference: After the aformentioned fumble, the Titans were still backed up at their own 3 yard line. The Eagles stuffed Chris Johnson for a 2-yard loss on first down. The Titans had a 2nd-and-12 from their own 1. That's when Kerry Collins let one fly down the far sideline to (who else?) Kenny Britt. Ellis Hobbs had coverage, but never looked back for the ball and was whistled for pass interference. Just like that, the Titans had breathing room with a 1st-and-10 at their own 22, instead of a 3rd-and-12 from their own 1. On the very next play, Collins went back to Britt, this time for a 34-yard gain. Several plays later, Rob Bironas hit a 41-yard field goal, and the Eagles' lead was cut to 16-10.

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Britt 80-yard touchdown: I really could have picked any one of Britt's big catches, but the 80-yarder was especially damaging. The Eagles had just extended their lead to 19-10 after a David Akers field goal. After a touchback, the Titans took over at their own 20 in a two-possession game in the fourth quarter. Collins didn't do anything fancy on first down. He lined up under center in a 1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR set. No play-action. And the Eagles weren't blitzing. He reared back and let a deep ball fly, actually underthrowing it to Britt down the sideline. Britt came back and made a play on the ball at the Eagles' 37 yard line, beating Nate Allen. Allen lost his footing, and Britt headed for the end zone, outrunning Hobbs. One play, 80 yards, 13 seconds off the clock. And the Titans pulled to within two points.

Calvin fumble: The Titans forced the Eagles to use all their timeouts with three straight Chris Johnson runs that went for 1, 0 and -4 yards. They then set up to punt. Jorrick Calvin, who handled all punt and kickoff returns today, fielded the ball at the Eagles' 33. Watching the replay, he actually bobbled it right away, but then recovered to gain full control. Calvin saw the defenders coming and looked like he was bracing for the hit, but Lavelle Hawkins knocked the ball loose and Tim Shaw recovered. That pretty much ended it as the Eagles' offense did not get the ball back until the 22-second mark. Calvin actually had a nice 41-yard kickoff return to set up the Eagles' final field goal. But his error cost the offense a chance to tie the game up in the fourth quarter.

And just for good measure: This isn't one play, but a look at the Eagles' penalties. They had 10 for 100 on the day, and many were costly. I'll break them all down by individual later in the week, but a quick look here:

Sideline interference on Michael Vick - This was on the Quintin Mikell interception early. Instead of the offense taking over at the Eagles' 49, it got the ball at its own 34.

Offsides on Hobbs - I mentioned the pass interference above, but Hobbs was also called for offsides on a 3rd-and-3 in the second quarter, giving the Titans a first down.

Roughing the passer on Juqua Parker - Collins' throw was incomplete on a 3rd-and-10 from the Eagles' 45 in the second quarter. Parker slammed him to the ground after he got rid of the ball, keeping the Titans' drive alive. Collins ended up connecting with Britt on a 26-yard touchdown for Tennessee's first score.

Offensive holding on Winston Justice - Kolb hit Maclin for a 5-yard gain on 3rd-and-5 in the fourth quarter, down 20-19. But the play came back because of the Justice holding call against Jason Babin. Kolb ended up throwing incomplete on 3rd-and-15, and the Eagles had to punt. The Titans scored on the ensuing possession, and the Eagles' offense really only had one more meaningful possession in the game.

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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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